A sponsor brought into the Scuderia Toro Rosso fold to capitalise on Jaime Alguersuari's involvement with the team could provide the momentum for the young Spaniard to join rival Mercedes as its reserve for 2012.
The arrival of Cepsa midway through 2011 was heralded as a major coup for the Italian midfielder, but it may now have scored an own goal after firing both Alguersuari and team-mate Sebastien Buemi after determining that neither had what it took to be a world champion. The pair had finished the year strongly, almost snatching sixth place from Force India, but were still replaced by the inexperienced duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Now it has emerged that Cepsa's parent company, Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company, is disappointed with the decision to axe a driver it considered 'the image of its international expansion plans'; and, according to Spain's AS
newspaper, could use its influence to find him in the top flight.
Another IPIC arm, Aabar, is a major shareholder at Mercedes Petronas GP and the report claims that the link could see Alguersuari given the chance to slip into the back-up role at Brackley, supporting Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. With Petronas having recently ended its MotoGP sponsorship, there are doubts over the longevity of its F1 involvement, and Alguersuari's arrival could be useful in providing a replacement.
Alguersuari has already said that he would not consider the second seat at HRT, the Spanish-based operation having the only known vacancy remaining for 2012 [see story here
], but has yet to confirm any other plans for 2012, unlike Buemi and Nick Heidfeld, who have both headed for sportscar rides.
Cepsa, meanwhile, has issued the official invitation to this year's STR launch, which will take place at Jerez next Monday, ahead of the first group test of the F1 pre-season.